Our verdict


The Fast-FWD Nitro Elite from PUMA is a short-distance super shoe that doesn’t only go fast, it looks fast as well. Its performance-oriented lockdown, full-length carbon plate, and very aggressive geometry provide a punchy, propulsive, “falling off a cliff” feeling that’s best for blasting past current 5K PBs and fellow racers.


  • A fast and efficient ride
  • Well-cushioned
  • Excellent option for 5-10K races
  • Has that spikey feel for tracks
  • Lightweight, airy upper
  • Great lockdown
  • Grippy full-length rubber outsole
  • Won’t topple you over on corners


  • Expensive for such a specific-use shoe
  • Outsole may wear out quickly
  • Painful for longer distances

Who should buy the Fast-FWD Nitro Elite

This PUMA Fast-FWD Nitro Elite is a fantastic option for runners who want:

  • A dedicated option for short-distance races.
  • A road runner that’s also great for track sessions.
  • A super shoe that works best for heel and midfoot strikers

Who should not buy it

For another short-distance racing shoe that’s versatile enough to handle half-marys, check out the Adidas Takumi Sen 8. For a durable speedster that won’t have you looking under couches for loose change, there’s the ASICS Magic Speed 2.

The Fast-FWD Nitro Elite’s eye-catching geometry

The first thing you’ll notice in the Fast-FWD Nitro Elite is the aggressive geometry—with ‘cutouts’ in both its forefoot and heel. While the initial impression was that its ride would be weird, experts found that it was quite a natural-feeling shoe that’s “always snappy, responsive, and propulsive.”

The experts who tested the shoe—one a midfoot striker, the other a slight heel striker—felt that it had a “very punchy roll through,” allowing them to maintain top paces even on tired legs. They warned, however, that even though this is a racer geared towards elite runners, it might not work for forefoot strikers “because there is no forefoot.”

Cushioning you wouldn’t expect from a 5K racer

While it has less of that nitrogen-infused super foam than the long-distance racer Deviate Nitro Elite, the Fast-FWD’s cushioning is bouncier and squishier underfoot, according to some runners.

Keep it short and quick

High-level runners noted that this “all-out shoe” performed best for short races and interval sessions. However, one expert shared that after using the shoes for a 10K race, his feet felt pretty beat up, and that it might not be enjoyable running anything longer in the Fast-FWD.

It’s also an “absolutely fantastic” shoe for the track, said one tester. It’s got that track-spike feel that makes him want to go fast, but with “a little bit more comfort, and protects the legs a bit better.”

The Fast-FWD is a speedy shoe that looks the part

Runners thought that the Fast-FWD Nitro Elite’s upper had a similar feel to the Vaporfly or the Adios Pro 3 in terms of structure and heel lockdown.

In this shoe, the mesh upper is surrounded by liberal amounts of PWRTAPE “to create a bit more structure whilst keeping the upper very lightweight.”

The heel, meanwhile, is reinforced by “a funny looking ‘shark fin’ in the very back.”  Apart from providing support, the main reason for the fin—according to one expert—”is that it looks gnarly.”

Performance fit

Those looking for a comfortable-yet-secure hold in a racing shoe will find it in the Fast-FWD. According to runners, the forefoot width is sufficiently roomy, the lacing does a great job of providing a solid lockdown (despite the minimal upper structure), and the fit is “definitely verging on the elite level.”

A legendary outsole grip

Experts had plenty of great words for the Fast-FWD Nitro Elite’s full-length PUMAGRIP-LT coverage:

  • “Sensation of being sticked to the ground is second to none”
  • “Good grip in the heel and forefoot”
  • “Way better than most race shoes out there.”

However, some runners found that even though the rubber was quite thick, they already started seeing some outsole wear after only one session.

Stable at high speeds

Thanks to a grippy outsole and a platform that’s not “super narrow for a top end short distance racer,” reviewers say that the Fast-FWD “never feels unstable or slippery when cornering at higher paces.”

Lets everyone know how fast you are

One cool detail reviewers noticed in the Fast-FWD Nitro Elite is that there’s a space in the midsole that allows shoe owners to fill in the time and date of their PRs.

Too niche for its own good

Though the Fast-FWD does its job very well, the availability of better/similarly performing but more versatile road racing options out there somehow diminishes the necessity of getting this shoe—especially at its price point of $220.

As summarized by a group of running-shoe experts: “Looking at pure value, this is a shoe that’s not gonna be one that we’d recommend to loads of runners.”